We've all heard the term, "It takes a village to raise a child." I've always interpreted that statement as permission for me to ask for help when it comes to caring for and raising my own children. Somewhat selfish, I know.
But I have recently had an opportunity to see this in a new way...where I'm the villager helping with another's child.
I have nieces, nephews, and friends with small children. I've never been shy about helping that child grow or learn from mistakes. Sometimes I handle those situations much more admirably that I would with my own children! But when I was made aware of a teenager who make a poor judgment call, I was stumped about what to do. (I will refrain from some details to protect the privacy of this teenager)
I typically treat this teenager with the same respect and trust that I would with any other adult. So when I learned of her lapse in judgement, I thought, "I should treat her like an adult then, and handle this one-on-one without involving her parents." I chewed on it for days...almost a week...until I finally realized that I couldn't let it consume me any more. And I had a convincing conversation with my Mom who said, "If someone were going to confront YOU when you were a teen, I would want to know about it. And even though you treat her like an adult, SHE'S A CHILD."
So, I called the teen's Mom (who is also a friend). It was hard to tell the mom about this situation, being that no one likes to know when their kid screwed up. But she was thankful, concerned, and disappointed in her actions. Then...get this...she thanked me for keeping an eye on her daughter and told me that I would understand, someday, that it's a good feeling to know that others are looking out for your kids.
It dawned on me that this was one of those It-Takes-A-Village moments.
Later that evening I did talk with the teen and settled things. She's learned what she did wrong, both from her mom's perspective and from the "outsider adult" perspective (me).
With my kids being 9, 6 and 2, it looks like a have a lot of "fun" to look forward to in the teenage years. So if you see one of my young ones doing something they shouldn't, PLEASE don't hesitate to correct them and/or let me know so I can!